Survey shows which states have most fast-food joints, per capita

Illustration for article titled Survey shows which states have most fast-food joints, per capita
Photo: jetcityimage (iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

Many of us live in areas where the landscape is frequently dotted by McDonald’s Golden Arches and other fast-food symbols (especially in urban regions). After all, the 50,000 different chains across America have a total of about 500,000 locations, and data shows that every day, about one-quarter of Americans eat fast food.


But if you’re driving across the country, you’ll likely spot more of those familiar logos in certain areas than others. Reader’s Digest reported last week about a Datafiniti survey that listed the states with the most fast-food restaurants per capita. The winner: Alabama, with 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents. Granted, the south has many fast-food chains, with McDonald’s and Subway leading the usual charges. Next up were Nebraska (5.4) and and West Virginia (5.3).

The survey found that the southern and central states averaged similar rates, with 4.4 restaurants per 10,000 residents in the South and 4.5 in the central states. This is a bit higher than in the western states (3.7) and the northeast states (2.5). (Notably, Montpelier, Vermont, is the only state capital without a McDonald’s.) So if you’re taking any cross-country road trips this summer, you may want to plan your fast-food stops accordingly.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



I have been trying to kick fast food and soda in order to get healthier. I have made it a month without slipping. I am glad I am doing it, but I miss both things so much. I know it is good for me in the long run, but it has been tougher than I thought.